'Lost' Dueling Analysis: 'The Package'
In which Jen and Liz dissect a particularly good episode, consider the deeper meaning of tomatoes and reach a whole new level of clever. Read along, then join them at 2 p.m. for the "Lost" Hour live chat. In the meantime, visit "Lost" Central to brush up on your island back story.
Jen: I want to start today's analysis of what I think (hope?) we both will agree was a stellar episode by quoting a wise man. And no, that wise man isn't Charles Widmore, and the quote has nothing to do with a war coming to the island. The wise man I refer to now is... Farmer Ted. That's right. Anthony Michael Hall from "Sixteen Candles." And the quote, for those of you who don't have that fine little '80s comedy burned into your brain cells, occurs right after Caroline Mulford passes out in Farmer Ted's lap while he's driving Jake Ryan's father's car. Says Ted, looking right into camera: "THIS is getting good." And that's how I feel about "Lost" as of this very moment -- it's going to take us somewhere really interesting in these last six (sob) episodes. I'm feelin' it now.
Part of the reason I'm feeling it? I got genuinely weepy for the first time this season. A Jin/Sun episode is almost guaranteed to do it to you every time. And when Jin finally got to see digital images of his sweet, little Ji Yeon on Sun's digital camera -- which, yes, survived that crash in remarkably pristine shape -- I couldn't hold back the verklemptness. Sadly, I was wrong about my prediction in yesterday's "Lost" 5 -- Jin and Sun didn't reunite. But I was right about Widmore's "package" being none other than Desmond, something many people also already predicted a couple of weeks ago. Phew. I'm out of breath. Take the mic, Liz, before I start getting weepy again.
Liz: Actually, I think I predicted the package was Desmond a few weeks back when Sawyer first encountered that locked sub door. Which is why I was jumping up and down in my seat screeching "I was so right" as soon as they dragged him onto the dock. Was I alone in this prediction? No. Does that make me feel any less triumphant? Also, no.
But to your first point -- it is indeed getting good. It's also, ahem, about time. I think we can all agree we've sat through some stinkers in the lead up. But as Mr. Liz said after tonight's awesomeness fest, "Maybe we had to go through that to get where we are." Maybe. I'm not sure we haven't been subjected to some needless filler this season, but if nothing else it makes us appreciate it when the show is firing on all cylinders, like it did last night.
But before we talk about that package and what it means for our friendly little island war, maybe we should talk about Jin and Sun -- who may just be closer than they realize.
Much more after the jump...
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Jen: Absolutely. Let's go straight to the flash sideways. The big reveal in the first few minutes... Jin and Sun are not married. He has no wedding ring, which connects back nicely to the fact that he gave Locke his ring in season five, just before Locke -- when he was still Locke -- turned the donkey wheel.
Which raises the question: is Sun involved with someone else back in Korea? Is it possible that Jae Lee -- who was her lover in the previous timeline -- is her significant other and her father really doesn't want her with Jin because he expects her to marry him? I'm liking that idea myself.
Liz: Indeed. Not married, though Sun still boarded that plane to L.A. with plans to escape. Just with Jin, instead of from him.
Interesting re: Jae Lee. Could be. But I'm going to guess that the baby is still Jin's. The fact that they aren't married does parallel -- as sideways world is wont to do -- the island action. Although L.A. Jin and Sun are able to get down in a ritzy hotel, they aren't bound together by marriage. So in a sense they are spiritually apart, as on the island they remain physically separated. They seem to be forever trading places. Sun started out the season on Hydra, and now Jin's there.
Jen: Right. And now Sun can't speak English, but Jin? He's spot-on. I have to say, I so love that. And for the record, I believe Sun's baby in sideways L.A. is also still Jin's. And I can even connect my rationale back to that tomato Jack showed Sun toward the end of the episode. But not yet.
Liz: Another parallel: Both Sun and Jin get bumped on the head -- Sun by running into a tree and Jin by being pushed into the doorframe of a walk-in freezer. When Sun hit her head she lost her ability to speak English. Since Keamy made such a point of noting Jin's head bump, I have to wonder what effect it may have had on him. Maybe, as you say, the fact that his English is now better than ever.
Jen: His English is great on the island, yes. Could the bump in sideways world be affecting what's happening on the island, though?
Liz: Well, we've talked about that possibility before -- that what happens in one has some kind of impact on the other. I think we last left that debate as undecided. As to whether it was really happening and, if so, which world had the dominant role.
Jen: Right. I remain undecided.
Let's talk about the Kwon factor. We've discussed the significance of the name Kwon being on the cave wall. Does it mean Jin? Sun? Both? Even MIB, apparently, didn't even know.
Liz: No, so he's hedging his bets by trying to gather both Kwons for his unscheduled flight back to the real world. Which, according to Widmore, will bring an end to life as we know it. But I jump ahead.
Jen: But if sideways world really does relate in some way to the island world, then Kwon stands for Jin, as the show made a point of demonstrating when he and Ms. Paik checked into their hotel room. Plus, Paik is Sun's maiden name anyway. So it makes more sense for Kwon to mean Jin, much as I somehow want it to mean both of them. Because I'm all sappy like that.
Liz: Agreed. Though, as I said above, it seems Locke is going to play it safe and go for both Kwons, while Widmore on the other hand, doesn't seem to want Jin for his possible "candidate" status at all, but because his name is appended to a series of maps showing pockets of electromagnetism on the island. At least, according to Zoe (aka Dirty Liz Lemon).
Jen: Well, I think that's the reason Zoe thinks Widmore wants him. Given the way Widmore pulled all the right strings with Jin -- talking about his daughter, and relating her to Penny -- Widmore is using Jin to thwart MIB's efforts. Surely Charlie W. knows that Jin doesn't know a thing about electromagnetic packets. He signed the maps as a Dharma employee who knew the island, but not the science behind it.
Liz: It may be a valid reason. Widmore knows about the electromagnetism, having been an island denizen himself once. And I agree that Widmore is hitting all of Jin's soft spots -- but it is for Jin's knowledge and possibly his ability to lead Widmore and his people to those pockets. He's not treating Jin as a prisoner anymore. He wants him on his side willingly. Speaking of Widmore...
I was a little conflicted by the guy tonight. When he showed Jin those pix of Ji Yeon on the camera, he talked of being a father himself and it was reminiscent of a season 5 kinder, gentler Charles Widmore. But that kinder, gentler side is a bit hard to square with someone who drugs that daughter's husband (Desmond) and takes him against his will (we have to assume) back to an island he never wanted to see again.
Jen: Okay, backing up for a second. Good point about Jin and the electromagnetic pockets. He probably knows where they are, even if he doesn't understand why they are. So that does make him a useful source. Now, re: Des and the drugs... This is not the first time someone has been doped up en route to the island. (Please see Juliet, while heading to the island with the help of Richard and Ethan.) We don't know Desmond's story yet, so I am going to withhold judgment about whether Widmore is drugging Des against his will, or whether Des is Pen's husband, even.
Now, we have to pause for what is breaking news from the Twitterverse. Or at least, it's breaking news while we're writing this, but probably won't be by Wednesday morning when this is actually published online. But whatever.
Earlier this evening, Damon Lindelof tweeted the following: "In one week, the conversation is going to change."
Is there a midseason game changer ahead? Or does he mean that we'll be talking about Desmond and what may or may not be his demise in next week's episode? Sorry, I didn't mean to go Desmond until the end of this analysis, but Lindelof's cryptic tweets got me all off my game.
Liz: Well, as you mentioned in the preview ahead of this week's episode, we've been told to expect some deaths.
Jen: Let's marinade on that and continue with our analysis, already in progress.
Liz: Indeed, there is still a bit of Kwon talk to get through, methinks.
In yet another echo of earlier seasons, we saw a frustrated Sun turn to her garden for some catharsis, only to be interrupted by an unwanted intruder: MIB. And, again, as a result Sun ended up unconscious.
Jen: Ah, nice flashback, Mizz Liz. If you remember -- and I know you do -- Sun said the Others were responsible for her kidnapping. She later realized it was Charlie and Sawyer, pretending to be Others. This is a case of history repeating itself. Sun thinks MIB/Locke caused her head injury. And he didn't at all. Poor MIB. So misunderstood.
Liz: Indeed. Perhaps we should talk about MIB for second. He wasn't the focus of tonight's show, but he did have some interesting lines. For instance, telling Sayid that perhaps it was better to not feel pain considering what is coming. He also had a heart-to-heart with Claire and basically gave her the go-ahead to deal with Kate as she sees fit once he's done with her (Kate). And then, of course, there was his exchange with Widmore.
Jen: Before we go to Widmore, let's talk about that Claire exchange. MIB's use of the phrase "whatever happens, happens" caught my attention. In the context in which he used it, he was, as you said, giving Claire carte blanche to do whatever she wishes with Kate, once they're all en route off the island. But it's also an echo of the phrase, "Whatever happened, happened," a favorite of Daniel Faraday's. And a phrase that indicated you couldn't change fate. So MIB, as we also learned last week, seems to believe in destiny. You are who you are, what will be, will be.
By the way -- Faraday? Also a physicist. Like Zoe.
Liz: Indeed. Though when MIB utters those words they take on a sinister quality Daniel Faraday just didn't possess.
But yes, I believe our MIB is a man of faith. But faith in a higher power? Himself? Fulfilling his supposed destiny to annihilate the world? We don't yet know.
Jen: Here is what I am thinking right now about MIB. Mr. Cryptic Tweeter Lindelof raised a question in the most recent "Lost" audio podcast about whether MIB really is "wrong" or "evil," and that maybe he really is being held prisoner against his will. I think that's true. His reasons for wanting to leave the island are understandable, even if his means -- lying to people, killing the people at the Temple -- are not.
However, I am not sure he understands the impact he will have on the larger world, as Widmore suggests, if he does leave. I think Widmore and Jacob are on the same side here. They know that MIB is, essentially, the objectification/personification of all the evil that men do. Let him loose and the world gets destroyed. And that's why they need to keep him in the wine bottle, even if it isn't fair to him.
Liz: I like that theory. MIB, like much of humanity, can't help his inhumanity. After all, we're only human.
And I think Widmore and Jacob may be on the same side in the sense that they want to keep MIB where he is, but I'm not sure they're working together towards that end. In fact, I think they may each have very different ideas about how to accomplish the task of forever bottling up MIB. Jacob, I think, believes it can be done by appointing another keeper -- hence the candidates. Widmore, on the other hand, may have something else in mind. Something involving those electromagnetic pockets and, hmm, perhaps sinking the island to the bottom of the ocean.
Jen: Ah. Well played.
Everyone, it seems, has a totally different approach to resolving the island issue. Alpert, for example, wants to destroy the plane so no one can leave. I guess he thinks that's not what MIB would want, and given the instructions passed on via Hurley last week, he's all about going the anti-MIB route.
And then there's Jack. I know that some of our readers are anti-Jack. Sick of his control issues. Sick of him always playing the hero. Sick of him not asking proper follow-up questions. Fine. Fair enough. But good Lord, how can you not be on his side at this point?
Liz: I agree. He's back to the Jack of season 1 -- helpful, trying to keep everyone's spirits up and making promises. Lovely promises even though he may not be able to ultimately deliver on them. In this ep, he told Sun there's a reason they're on the island and he referenced the lighthouse mirrors (which is funny considering he smashed them). So is he finally gaining balance as a man of faith?
Jen: It seems to me that dy-no-mite moment he had with Richard, where he let the fuse burn and possibly blow them to hell, with the faith that it wouldn't, finally helped him overcome his doubts. And now he is sure that he can get Jin and Sun on that plane, his attempt to right the wrong from the end of season four, when he pulled Sun on board the chopper but left Jin behind.
Liz: Good call.
Jen: He has promised to get everyone off the island so many times, with the notion it would do good. And it never has. I just want the poor guy to be right for once. And when he grabbed Sun's hand with the tears in his eyes, my God, I just wanted to hug him. And for completely non-sexual reasons, no less.
Liz: I'm with you. And Jack. But, umm, TMI.
Jen: Come on. We go on and on about Sawyer. Let's give it up for Foxy for once, for heaven's sake.
Liz: Anyhoo, in Jack's reaching out to touch Sun I saw echoes of Jacob's having touched all of the candidates. Which made me think all the more that he is THE candidate.
Jen: Me, too. Is that also because there's an episode coming up later this season called "The Candidate"?
Liz: Could be.
So, let's talk room 23
Jen: There's another mystery solved, for those of you who keep saying questions aren't being answered. Dharma used the room, as Zoe helpfully explained, to do experiments re: the effects of subliminal messaging. Or at least, that's the public explanation. There still may have been something more sinister going on there.
Liz: Well, it certainly seemed sinister when poor Karl was strapped into that chair. And we know he wasn't there to be experimented on, but tortured by a mad daddy (Ben). Luckily Jin wasn't held there -- in room 23 -- too long.
Jen: Also, that room really needs to be cleaned.
Liz: Oh, and not a mystery solved, but we did see an old familiar face tonight. One McPatchy -- aka Mikhail -- sans patch.
Jen: Yes, just in case readers didn't pick up on my so-subtle hint in the Lost 5. His nickname sounds Irish but isn't. God, I'm so clever.
Liz: Let's not get carried away now. (I kid!)
Jen: I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I don't think I've ever been so pleased to see someone lose an eye.
Liz: Well, the whole loss of an eye had a certain course-corrective rightness about it. And you just know he's not dead, even after taking a bullet to the eye. That guy doesn't die easily. Remember, even the sonic fence didn't kill him.
Jen: I had the same thought about Mikhail. I also thought -- and maybe I am overthinking -- that Mikhail's connection in sideways world with Keamy and Omar (both hired by Widmore before) may mean Mikhail was connected to Widmore all along. Just a random thought.
Liz: I like the way you think. You are... clever.
Jen: Well, if for some weird reason you find me clever, that may change when I share my tomato theory.
Liz: Oh please, explain...
Jen: Bear with me. Here we go. Back in season two, when Sun finally talked to Jin about the fact that she was pregnant, they were in the garden. The same garden she revisited tonight. They celebrated the fact that their child would be born near that very spot. A child, by the way, they never thought they could conceive. And whose birth -- per the episode Ji Yeon -- was a little traumatic because Sun was freaking about Jin not being present and, if memory serves, the baby was initially in some distress.
So when Jack presented Sun with the tomato he found and said, "I guess no one told it it was supposed to die," I thought, that represents Ji Yeon. Maybe, as Keamy says, Jin and Sun weren't meant to be together. (Though I don't believe that, frankly.) But they were meant to have that child.
Liz: Okay. I need to digest that one. Not literally -- meaning I don't plan to eat any tomatoes right now. How could I after that? But it bears some thinking about.
Jen: I mean, I'm not saying Ji Yeon is actually a tomato. But I think that was a symbol, especially coming right on the heels of Sun being shot and revealing that she is pregnant in sideways L.A.
Liz: I think you could be right. But I think the tomato could also be a metaphor for Sun's love for Jin. Or for all the Losties, who are still hanging on (at least for now) despite some pretty bad odds.
Jen: True. You say one tom-ay-to metaphor, I say another tom-ah-to metaphor...
Liz: You were just waiting for me to dissent so you could use that line.
Jen: I have been praying since season three: Please, use a tomato on this show. Just once.
Liz: Somehow a Dharma beer wouldn't have had the same resonance.
So perhaps we should wrap by talking about Mr. Hume, who arrived on island -- I will swear to this -- against his will. Widmore is talking him up as if he's a secret weapon. But why? Could it be because, as Daniel Faraday once said, the rules don't apply to Desmond?
Jen: Let us recall that he is the man who both caused the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, and also turned the fail safe key that, as the "Lost" producers evidently noted, prevented a global catastrophe. So if he did it once, he can do it again, brotha.
Liz: Indeed. But why do I feel like this time he won't survive the experience? As Ms. Hawking said to him last season -- and we heard Widmore echo it in the preview for next week's show -- the "island isn't done" with him yet.
But I think we may be nearing the end of this analysis.
Jen: I think Desmond's a goner, too, for a totally different reason: in the preview for next week's Desmond-centric episode, they were playing a bagpipe-version of "Amazing Grace." If that doesn't sound like funeral music, I don't know what does.
But we can begin the mourning at 2, I think.
Liz: I think that would be the "clever" thing to do.
Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
| March 31, 2010; 10:44 AM ET
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